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Consecration of Christ Church,

Stratford, July 29th, 1858,












It was probably in his last days and after his beloved son had reached the throne, that David penned this sublime Psalm; for it is noted in the conclusion—“The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended. Transported with joy and gratitude, in view of an event so auspicious as the coronation of Solomon, he invoked the benediction of heaven upon the young king and his people, and then, impelled by a divine enthusiasm, ascended to a higher subject, and portrayed, under the figure of his peaceful and glorious administration, the person of the Messiah and the power and magnificence of His reign. Much of the language employed in this composition is inapplicable to Solomon, except as he is the type of Christ. The words, “they shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure throughout all generations,” never could be spoken literally of an earthly potentate, but they are true of Him whose sway in the world by his providence, and in the Church by the influences of His grace, is to be lasting as the luminaries of heaven.

There is a double sense in the passage, placed at the head of this Discourse. The writer is undoubtedly foretelling the wonderful fertility of Judea in the days of Solomon,—fertility so great, that from “a handful of corn,” sown on the barren mountain top, should issue a produce, the ears of which would shake and wave in the wind, like the cedars of Lebanon; while in the city a fresh generation of Israelites should spring up and advance to maturity as the unnumbered blades of grass in the thrifty field. Passing from a simple view of this temporal prosperity to a prophetic survey of the remoter reign of the Messiah, the Psalmist beheld the amazing increase of the word, when sown in the barren hearts of men the astonishing multiplication of Christian disciples, from a beginning as insignificant in itself as the lodgment of seed in the earth. No comparison could be fitter to represent the development and progress of the Gospel. It is the image which meets us often in the predictions of the prophets, and it forms the ground-work of several chapters in the New Testament. It unites in one record the rapid growth of the Church and a description of her continual watchfulness and prayer. It shows how, under the breath of the living Spirit, her life was first nurtured and quickened, and then how, as in a gracious spring time, she did shoot forth and unfold herself with spreading branches, according to the inward law of her own being. “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” So was it in the early history of the Christian Church, that the “handful of corn,” sown “in the [6/7] earth upon the top of the mountains,” did yield such a plentiful return that Lebanon, nodding with its cedars, was not a figure too bold to express her growth, nor the verdure of the favored field too rich to denote the prosperity of the crowded mart.

But the text thus fitted to describe the early growth of Christianity is not inappropriate to the occasion that has called us together. We have met, my Brethren, to dedicate to the honor and worship of God, and thus to separate forever from all unhallowed, worldly, and common uses, this beautiful structure that binds its builders to an interesting past. The simple scene presented to-day in the streets of your village, is very different from one that was witnessed here some century and a half ago. Then, two distinguished persons rode into the place,—one a priest in the Church of the ever-living God,—and the other, a Christian gentleman—loving most warmly the same Church, and sustaining high and important [7/8] responsibilities in a neighboring colony.

[The Rev. George Muirson, a Scotchman by birth, who was first sent by the Propagation Society, as schoolmaster to Albany. He bore a letter to the Bishop of London, by whom he was afterwards ordained, dated Oct. 17, 1704, written by the Rev. E. Evans, and speaking of him as “well beloved and esteemed by all sorts of people; a man of a very sober and blameless conversation.” “I give him,” he adds, “this recommendation, not to gratify himself, nor anybody else, but because I sincerely believe he may be very instrumental of doing much good in the Church.” He returned to this country in July, 1705, and took charge of the Mission at Rye, where he died Oct. 1708, in the prime of his life and usefulness, being about 33 years of age.—Hawkins’ Historical Notices, p. 277. Col. Caleb Heathcote. He “came to this country in 1690, and bought large tracts of land in Westchester County, N. Y. He was a member of the first Vestry of Trinity Church, N. Y., and a leading man in the Province, at different times Mayor of New York, Commander of the forces of the Province, Surveyor-General of the customs of all North America. He died in 1721, and was buried in Trinity Church Yard.”—The Rev. J. A. Paddock’s Historical Discourse, p. 10. He accompanied Mr. Muirson in his several visits to Stratford, and heartily supported him in every effort for the good of the Church. They both went up and down in the Colony, and acted in some degree as itinerant Missionaries.

They came upon the invitation of a few families here, attached to the faith of their forefathers and desirous of worshiping God in the forms of the Liturgy, and because they thus came, their entrance was disputed and their object opposed. Each subsequent visit seemed to increase the hostility, for the settlers, though many of them were born and nurtured in the Church of England, had long been taught to look upon her as the Nazareth, out of which no good thing could come. Hence all favor shown to her worship and Missionaries, and all participation in her ordinances were denounced, and the handful of Churchmen were greatly misused and persecuted, and “distresses” were levied upon their estates to support the religion and ministry, legalized and encouraged by the Provincial government. I do not speak of these things, my Brethren, to awaken any unpleasant emotions. It was the fault of the times that those who claimed to have been driven hither by persecution turned persecutors; but these things revive the picture that was seen, and show the state of feeling that existed here one hundred and fifty years ago.

But how changed now? Instead of the lone Presbyter coming with his lone attendant and seeking in some private dwelling to cross a child in Baptism, or to [8/9] minister to a little despised flock,—instead of this—now we come in various groups and from different quarters, and uniting in a surpliced hand with a Bishop at our head, we enter these walls and are welcomed by a waiting multitude, who join us in the glad response,—“This is the generation of them that seek him; even of them that seek thy face, O, Jacob.” [Forty-nine clergymen, with Bishop Williams, were present at the Consecration.] Nor is this all that graces the occasion and adds to its solemnity and interest. Laymen from abroad are with us—“they of the city”—where the Church has “flourished like grass of the earth.” Many, too, from their quiet homes on the distant hill-sides, where the “handful of corn” was early scattered, have come down to share in your joy,—as their fathers of old came down to the Christmas and Easter festivals, and swelled the number that thronged the house of Johnson. [Life of Dr. Johnson, p. 133.]

It is not my intention, Brethren, to go over the history of your Parish; but I have taken a significant passage near its beginning, to illustrate the text, and now I must turn to one farther on. It would be easy for me in referring to this passage to present another contrast, and thus to show the wide difference between Commencement Day at Yale College, in 1722, and the same occasion in 1858. [The Consecration and the Commencement occurred on the same day.] But I will recite the story and others may make the contrast.

[10] Fifteen years of alternate hope and despondency passed away before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts could answer the importunities of the earliest Churchmen here, and station among them a suitable Missionary. By this time, some earnest enquiries had been started elsewhere, and soon those astounding events in the religious history of the Colony occurred that widened the prospect of establishing the Church and increasing the number of the Parishes. Johnson, an acceptable minister among the Congregationalists at West Haven, and Cutler, for ten years a popular preacher of the same order in your own town, but now the Classic Rector of Yale College, with several associates, had frequently met in the Library of that Institution, and discovering there “a handful of corn,” that had been sent over from the mother country in the shape of Theological treatises, they began to examine it and to test its quality. [The Rev. Timothy Cutler, “who lived then at Boston or Cambridge, was sought out, in 1709, and sent “to Stratford,” as “one of the best preachers both colonies afforded.” The Congregationalists seem to have hoped by his influence to weaken or destroy the interest in favor of the Church of England, which at this time was increasing. Mr. Cutler’s popularity probably gained him the appointment at Yale College—and “to make compensation to the people of Stratford for the removal of their minister, the trustees agreed to give them Mr. Cutler's house and home lot, which they purchased for eighty-four pounds sterling.”—Trumbull’s His. Conn., Vol. II, p. 33.] They examined the doctrines, and practices of the Primitive Church, and compared them with the model of their own discipline and worship, and the farther they pushed their enquiries, the more uneasy they became. As light would break in upon the [10/11] darkened chamber of their toil, they finally welcomed it, and two of their number, occupying high positions in the College, sent in to the Trustees at the annual Commencement in 1722, a formal statement of their views, and declared for Episcopacy. [Rector Cutler and Daniel Brown, the Tutor. The rest made no secret of their opinions. Unspeakable was the amazement of the grave assembly which heard the statement of Cutler and his Tutor; overwhelming was the sorrow and wide the consternation, as the tidings of it passed from town to town, and village to village. “I suppose,” says Pres. Woolsey, speaking of this event in the Historical Discourse delivered on occasion of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Institution—“that greater alarm would scarcely be awakened now, if the Theological Faculty of the College were to declare for the Church of Rome, avow their belief in Transubstantiation and pray to the Virgin Mary.” [Page 26.] Nothing, my hearers, could shake the strongest of these men from their convictions. They had been looked upon as brethren of highest promise and influence, and, therefore, every effort was made to remove their doubts and misgivings, to settle them back into the prevailing faith, and so to quiet the apprehensions and alarm of the people. That was an earnest and sincere debate, which Saltonstall, the Governor of the Colony, invited and [11/12] presided over with a view to these ends—and though it terminated abruptly—it never was re-opened in the same way.

[Gurdon Saltonstall, at this time Governor, was the Congregational minister at New London, when Keith and Talbot visited that place in 1702. The latter preached there on a Sunday, and Saltonstall “civilly entertained them at his house, and expressed his good affection to the Church of England,” Trumbull speaks of him as “a great man—well versed in the Episcopal controversy”—and the friendly conference was invited with no expectation that it would end virtually in the discomfiture of the Trustees of the College. Cutler, Johnson and Brown wavered not—having studied the matter too thoroughly to be shaken by anything but argument. But three others who only doubted the validity of Presbyterian ordination continued in their respective places, and for the rest of their days, “were never known to act or say, or insinuate anything to the disadvantage of the Church.” Wetmore, who stood up side by side with his friends in the College Library, defending Episcopacy, followed them a few months later to England, and received Holy Orders.]

For three of those who laid down their honors and preferments, and periled all for the sake of principle, embarked early in November of the same year for England, to seek ordination from the Bishops of her Church. There sickness and sorrow befell them, and two only lived to return and exercise the office of their Priesthood.

[“Scarcely had these devoted men attained the object towards which they had been gradually led, through many stages of anxious and painful thought, before that malady, which had been so long the dread of America and of Europe, and which had already smitten, though not unto death, one of their small party, (Cutler,) reappeared with greater malignity, and struck down another to the dust. Within a week after their ordination. Brown was seized with small-pox, and died on Easter Eve, amid the tears of those who confessed that they had lost in him a friend and fellow laborer second to none.”—Anderson’s His. Colonial Ch. Vol. III, Ch. xxix.]

One was stationed at a post in [12/13] Boston, and the other received the place of your first Missionary; and thank him to day, my Brethren, one and all, for his work, since he scattered the good seed of the kingdom from the shores to the mountains. Not above thirty families—“all poor”—composed the parish when he came to it, and about fifty more might have been found scattered in Fairfield, Norwalk, Newtown, Ripton, West Haven, and other parts of the province.

[Dr. Cutler became Rector of Christ Church, Boston, where he died in 1765, after an effective, and eventful ministry in the same place, extending to more than forty years. Mr. Johnson succeeded in Stratford Mr. Pigot, who had been transferred to Providence, R. I. In Chandler’s Life of him it is stated that he “agreed to officiate once every three months, but chiefly on week days,” in the  neighboring towns, and the record of his official acts shows that he extended his ministrations to many places in the colony, where the Church rapidly grew, and where houses of public worship were soon erected.]

The first parish Church erected in Stratford, was opened for divine service on Christmas day, 1723, nearly two months after Johnson’s arrival. It had been built under the ministry of his predecessor, and as it was then the only Episcopal house of worship in the Colony, and he the only Episcopal clergyman. Churchmen from other towns regularly attended and helped to increase the congregation. As the dwellers at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost reported everywhere the wonderful works of God, so these men carried along the shore towns and back into the valleys, and far upon the distant hilltops of the interior, tidings of the worship they offered and of the instruction they gained here. A revival of reverence and affection in many towards the Church which their fathers had forsaken soon followed Parishes were formed and Missionaries stationed in several towns, and so great was the whole growth, that thirteen years after Johnson’s settlement in this place, when an accurate enumeration was made of the Episcopal families of Connecticut, the number was found to have increased from eighty to [13/14] seven hundred. [Chandler’s Life of Johnson, p. 64.] Twenty years after his settlement, a fresh impulse was given to the Church of England by the indirect influence of Whitfield’s preaching, and steps were taken to provide for the larger congregation, by erecting another edifice here to take the place of the former and to exceed it in size and glory. That edifice, so rich in historical associations, and the scene of a “bright succession” of Pastors, still stands by our side, and you whose affections linger fondly around it as the spot where you can say “Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house and the place where thine honor dwelleth,” you, who thus feel, may be soothed by the thought that in transferring your religious services to this sanctuary, you transfer them to one as tasteful, as beautiful, and of such complete architecture, that if “the stone shall cry out of the wall,” “the beam out of the timber will answer it.” [The Rev. Dr. Johnson preached from this text at the opening of the church, July 8, 1744, and his sermon, entitled “The Great Duty of Loving and Delighting in the Public Worship of God,” was published, with prayers for the family and closet appended.]

We have now gone far enough, my Brethren, to look, in this connection, at some of the main causes, under God, of the progress and prosperity of the Church in Connecticut. The more I have examined into the state of the Colony and into the character of our early Clergy, and our early Churchmen, the more thoroughly have I become satisfied that three things had a direct and abiding influence on the growth of Episcopacy. And these three things may be noted without departing from the simple figure of the text.

[15] First—the seed was good: the doctrine was sound. It was all the better for being old. It has been said that the vine which springs from seed long kept, being less likely to run to waste, produces the most delicious and abundant fruit. The Church, as “a Witness and Keeper of Holy Writ,” has a history. It is in conformity with the Apostolic model, and furnishes in its Articles and Liturgy exactly those views of the plan of salvation by Christ, which not only commend themselves to the judgment of sober-minded, intelligent men, but appeal also to the conscience of perishing sinners. Christ meets us in all the aspects of duty and devotion throughout every part of our Ritual. In His name our prayers are offered, our services rendered. “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Him,”—and doubtless the blessing of heaven has watered the vineyard and given the increase, because the faith thus condensed in our Creeds, expanded in our Articles, infused into our Prayers, taught in our Catechism, and preached in our Sermons, is beyond all fit and honorable controversy “the faith once delivered to the Saints.”

Again, not only was the seed good, but it was sown by strong and prudent hands, and watched with constant care. If the earliest Clergy in Connecticut magnified their office, they knew their duty and stood up to it through every sort of trial and discouragement. No body of men ever grappled more resolutely with the difficulties by which they were surrounded, or comprehended more thoroughly the arguments in support of a threefold [15/16] ministry and of all the doctrines contained in the Book of Common Prayer. They were obliged to be Christian scholars, and to be armed on all sides with reasons for their faith. They could not dwell in the midst of learned men of another denomination, and receive their frequent and severe assaults, except they provided themselves with the weapons of self-defense. There was nothing superficial in their attainments. They explored the very depths of sacred erudition, so that when they name to discourse from the pulpit or to write for the press, they had at command language and arguments, both clear and forcible. They preached, moreover, from house to house. They were Pastors to their flocks, and accomplished in private what they could not gain in public. They were models of missionary zeal and devotion, and living the sermons they preached,—practising in all the relations of social intercourse the duties which they inculcated,—they won the esteem and admiration of many who were not ready at once to subscribe to their doctrines. Thus, men of learning, men of God, men of prayer, men of faith, men of sacrifice and self-denial,—they sowed the seed. The great champion of all was here, and stamped the impress of his remarkable mind upon the laborers in other fields, upon Beach and Caner, and Punderson and Mansfield, and the elder Seabury.

BEACH! I have never thought, my Brethren, that ample justice was done to his name on the pages of our history. He was scarcely inferior in strength of intellect,—in knowledge of the Church,—in the toils and trials of his [16/17] vocation—to him who has been justly styled the “father of Episcopacy in Connecticut.” Indeed, after Johnson removed to New York, and served the Church in the Presidency of King’s (now Columbia) College, Beach was our chief defender, and wielded the pen of controversy and exposed the schemes of his adversaries, both with skill and power. He kept his eye upon every rood of ground where the seed had been sown, and as fearless as faultless, traveled by night and by day, amid storms and snow drifts and across deep and rushing streams, to preach the word, to visit and comfort the sick, and to bury the dead.

[The Rev. John Beach, born at Stratford, and the early friend of Johnson, graduated at Yale College in 1721, and was for some time a Congregational minister at Newtown. He afterwards “joined our communion upon principle,”—and among other testimonials which he presented to the Bishop of London, when he went for Holy Orders, was one from Rev. Mr. Honyman of R.I., speaking of him as esteemed by all that knew him in this country, for the sake of his good morals and his learning,” and “earnestly desiring that he might return again to the place where he had lived long, and was extremely beloved.” He arrived at Newtown a missionary of the Church of England, in September, 1782. His own simple and touching words, as given in a letter, dated May 5, 1772, well express his faithful and consistent course. As it is now forty years since I have had the advantage of being the Venerable Society’s Missionary in this place, I suppose it will not be improper to give a brief account how I have spent my time, and improved their charity. Every Sunday, I have performed divine service, and preached twice, at Newtown and Reading alternately. And in these forty years, I have lost only two Sundays through sickness, although in all that time I have been afflicted with a constant colic, which has not allowed me one day’s ease or freedom from pain. The distance between the churches at Newtown and Reading, is between eight and nine miles, and no very good road, yet have I never failed one time to attend each place according to custom, through the badness of the weather, but have rode in the severest rains and snow storms, even when there has been no track, and my horse near miring down in the snow-banks—which has had this good effect on my parishioners, that they are ashamed to stay from Church on account of bad weather, so that they are remarkably forward to attend the public worship. As to my labors without my parish, I have formerly performed divine service in many towns where the Common Prayer had never been heard, nor the Scriptures read in public, and where now are flourishing congregations of the Church of England; and in some places where there never had been any public worship at all, nor any sermon preached by any preacher of any denomination. In my traveling to preach the Gospel once was my life remarkably preserved in passing a deep and rapid river. The retrospect of my fatigues, as lying on straw, &c., gives me pleasure while I flatter myself that my labor has not been quite in vain: for the Church of England people are increased much more than twenty to one; and what is infinitely more pleasing, many of them are remarkable for piety and virtue, and the Independents here are more knowing in matters of religion than they who live at a great distance from our Church. We live in harmony and peace with each other, and the rising generation of the Independents seem to be entirely free from every pique and prejudice against the Church.” Ten years later, he penned his last letter to the Society, in which he says: “I am now in the eighty-second year of my age, yet do constantly alternately perform service and preach at Newtown and Reading. I have been sixty years a public preacher, and, after conviction, in the Church of England fifty years, but had I been sensible of my insufficiency, I should not have undertaken it. But now I rejoice in that I think I have done more good towards men’s eternal happiness than I should have done in any other calling.” He lingered six months longer and died “fairly worn out,” March 19, 1782.—Hawkins’ Hist. Notices, Ch. IX.]

He remained at his post when the [17/18] terrors of the Revolution came, and alone of all the clergy in the Colony refused to close his church and pray the prayers of the Liturgy. Johnson, upon whom in addition to the weight of declining years, the heavier burden of domestic sorrow was laid, had resigned some time prior to this event, the Presidency of King’s College, and was living in retirement at the scene of his former ministrations, and amid the bosom of his affectionate parishioners. With broken strength, but with a spirit still fresh [18/19] and buoyant, he served them for many years,—“exercising again all the offices of Christian love and watchfulness on their behalf,”—and entering into a correspondence with friends at home and abroad to secure what his clear eye saw to be so needful to complete the Scriptural order and effective discipline of the Church—an American Episcopate. [His correspondence with the English Prelates touching the scheme of sending Bishops to America has never been ail published, nor has the history of that scheme been fully written out. But several letters from Archbishop Seeker, Bishops Sherlock, Terrick and Lowth are appended to Chandler’s Life.] He passed to his glorious reward, just as the clouds of the Revolution were gathering and rolling up in thicker folds. When the shock of that event came, the Church in Connecticut reeled under it. An oath of allegiance bound the Missionaries in loyalty to the king, and hence they and their congregations were generally regarded with suspicion and distrust by the patriots of the land. Three of our houses of worship, however, were burned by the very invaders whose cause they were supposed secretly to sustain, and others only echoed at distant intervals the sounds of prayer. [The churches in Norwalk, Fairfield and New London.] And praise,—so that, when the separation of the colonies from the mother country was effected, many of our clergy, with respectable portions of their flocks, had withdrawn, or then withdrew, to the British Provinces. Scarcely ten remained in Connecticut, and these were dependent upon weakened Parishes and subject to an accumulated weight of popular prejudice. But ten were [19/20] enough to save the Church and nurture “the handful of corn.” They rallied at once from all discouragement, and as the first step to perfect an independent organization, selected an earnest, honest, and exemplary Clergyman, and sent him forth to solicit Consecration to the Episcopate. [The Rev. Samuel Seabury, D. D., consecrated at Aberdeen, Scotland, Nov. 14, 1784. Thus Connecticut became the primal Diocese in our land, and henceforward her history is too familiar to need repetition here.

These, my Brethren, were the men who sowed the seed, and now, for the third element in the growth of Episcopacy, we must look at

The soil upon which it fell.

That little band who welcomed Heathcote and his Missionary were as “the handful of corn” sown on the mountain. Though poor in this world’s goods, they were rich in faith. They were men who bore their trials and grievances nobly, and took especial pains to recommend their creed by pious and blameless lives, for Governor Hunter of New York, in a letter written in 1711, after a visit to Connecticut, described the Churchmen of Stratford as “appearing to be very much in earnest, and the best set of men he met with in that country.” It was so, my Brethren, for the most part, in other places, and particularly after the influence of the example and teaching of the Missionaries began to be felt. The people, like their priests, courted knowledge and invited investigation. Books were [20/21] not as plenty then as now; but they read all they could reach in favor of the Church, and entered into the controversies of the times with a spirit which showed that they knew how to defend and preserve the truth. Some of them were as useful, if not as great theologians, as their Pastors, and not only became familiar with Doctrinal treatises, but with works on Practical Religion. I have in my possession, descended to me from an honored ancestor, three printed Discourses by the Rev. John Beach, which bear the marks of frequent perusal, and present an appearance hot unlike that which, we may suppose, the Private Devotions of the pious Bishop Andrews—the companion of all his religious hours—presented when “worn in pieces with his fingers, and wetted with his tears.” A great debt of gratitude is due these early laymen for the part they bore. Anderson, in his recent History of the Colonial Church, tracing the rise and progress of Episcopacy among us, concludes a chapter with these reflections, and they will apply as well to the Laity as to the Clergy. [Vol. III, p. 444.]

“I will not venture to give expression to the feelings which I have experienced in relating the various incidents contained in this chapter, and which the attentive reader can hardly fail to share. That which prevails over every other at the present moment, and which alone I wish to leave on record, is the feeling of deepest gratitude to those men of Connecticut, who, not from a mere [21/22] hereditary attachment to the Church of England, or indolent acquiescence in her teaching, hut from a deep, abiding conviction of the truth, that she is a faithful witness and keeper of ‘Holy Writ,’ have shown to her ministers, in every age and country, the way in which they can best promote the glory of their heavenly Master’s name, and enlarge the borders of His Kingdom.” The impress of those sterling qualities which marked the character of our early laymen, is still visible and still respected. It is widely known and widely honored. For travel East or West, Horth or South, go where you will over this broad land, speak aloud the name of CONNECTICUT CHURCHMAN, and if you do not find some to claim it, you will find many to rise up and do it honor. For this and for all the reasons shown in the progress of our Discourse, I feel that we—Bishop, Priests and People—have a right on this occasion and in this place, to give utterance to our joy and to mingle our congratulations.

I congratulate you, Right Reverend Sir, that you are privileged to be the consecrator of a Church erected on the soil where your own office was so gracefully defended and so earnestly sought for this Western world,—where the friend of virtuous Berkeley lived and labored so well,—where letters penned by learned Sherlock and saintly Seeker and brilliant Lowth, came to a genial, kindred spirit, made anxious most by the sickening sense of hope long deferred. I think it no mean honor, as honors are understood by men, that, in the [22/23] Providence of God, you are over a Diocese, where the Church is so rich in historic interest,—so filled with burning zeal,—so impregnated with the seed of sound, sober Scriptural views of doctrine and of duty, and where the mitre first graced the head of Seabury, as it still graces the head of our own presiding Bishop.

As for you, my brethren of the Clergy, I cannot point you to lessons outside of the word of God, more instructive and truthful than many which may be read in the toils and trials, in the patience and perseverance and integrity and discretion of some of our earliest predecessors in the work of the Church. Oh! if we have entered into their labors, if we occupy the precious inheritance which they entailed, let us prove our regard for it by watching wisely the flocks committed to our charge, and by driving deeper and deeper into the living heart of their faith the Gospel of Christ. It was a noble feature in the character of our early Clergy, that instead of contending for rites and ceremonies, or for personal powers and privileges, they aimed to propagate Christianity. Herein, as we have indicated, was one mighty secret of the success of their ministrations. They preached the Gospel, the Gospel as the Bible and the Church understand it, never forgetting that around the whole was thrown not only the happy guard of our Rubrics and Liturgy, but the authority also of our Articles and Standards. This, too, is our business, and if we perform it as they did, God will not withhold His blessing.

[24] And now, my Brethren of this venerable Parish, let me, in conclusion, speak a word of friendly warning and counsel to you. You have my hearty congratulations that the outward building is completed, and henceforth, your work must be—to “build up yourselves on your most holy faith.” “Praying, then, in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God,—looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life.” You cannot think it enough to be interested in providing merely for the growth of godliness and the increase of the Parish. As there were builders of the ark in the old world who were not saved with Noah and his family from perishing, so there may be builders of temples in the new, who shall never find them the gate of heaven. If you would prosper as a Parish, live in peace, and the very God of peace will dwell with you. The broken band is ever weak; Among all the troubles which befell the early Churchmen here, they were never torn by internal dissension. The golden girdle of charity was around them, and thus encircled, they walked and watched and prayed. Come in their spirit to this beauteous sanctuary—and oh! may it be to you all, none other than the House of God and the gate of heaven. May it prove to you the harbinger of the love, and the peace and the holiness, and the joy of that eternal state, to which believers in the shadows of mortality, do lift the eye of faith. And long after you, as the seniors of the present age, have given your bodies to mingle with those of your fathers in the dust of the sepulchre, may the prophetic blessing be [24/25] fulfilled on your children’s children—that because of this and that man being born here, righteousness has been made to run down your streets and to descend with all the force and fullness of an increasing river from generation to generation. God grant it for the Redeemer’s sake, to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be rendered and ascribed, as are most justly due, all honor, might, majesty, glory, and dominion henceforth and forevermore. Amen.

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